Light a candle – my tidying festival has begun

On Monday my appointment for the morning had to reschedule, so I found myself with an unexpected chunk of time without something specific planned.

I have been putting off the task of tidying my office/spare room, mostly because dislike tasks like this. But also because it seems so tedious and annoying. But lately I have been suffering from a lack of ability to find things quickly that I need. So I know I was overdue for another “KonMari” festival.

Marie Kondo describes in her book “the life changing magic of tidying up” how the act of tidying must first begun with thorough discarding, all at once. She approaches the act of tidying as a special event that can take up 3-6 months depending on how much stuff we have and need to discard. I believe it.

About a year and a half ago in the Spring, I really worked at this, clearing out my entire closet and working my way through most of my wardrobe. It felt great, and I got rid of so many things I never wore, or seldom wore. Her criteria for keeping things: if it sparks joy, keep it. If not, discard it. 

Clothes on floor

I began in the “correct” order as she describes, and put all of my shirts and blouses on the floor of the room. Clearly she does not have cats at home… that has a hazard for certain types of clothing when you do not want cat fur on everything. But I am including a picture so you can get an idea of how bad it was to start.

A lot of things had to go, but I only started with the “tops” category today, and I am planning to work through her list all week, spending at least 2 hours a day tidying. Today I spent about 4 hours, but I must say once I made all of those choices and then put things away, I was feeling really exhausted.

So many decisions! Oy!

Candles

You minimalists have the right idea! More stuff equals more stress. By having less stuff, and minimizing my decision fatigue, and lessen the time I spend looking for stuff I cannot find. I hope this helps to optimize my focus at home, something we “work at home” folks truly need.

But I like the idea of approaching this project as a one-time special event, and treating it with the sacred process that it is. I decided to light some candles when I started to make it more of a ceremony. It definitely helped. Let’s see if I can sustain the mood and keep this going tomorrow. Wish me luck!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Minimalism

I have a growing in interest in the minimalism movement, which probably began when I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  In that spirit, I will try to make this a minimalist post. Though I suppose if it were haiku, it would be even more artfully minimalist (a goal for a future post).

Empty closet

Brooke Castillo has had a good amount to say about minimalism as well, and her podcast episode on minimalism is one I have enjoyed multiple times because it appeals to me on so many levels. Full disclosure: if you visit me my home, you will see that minimalism is an aspiration but not yet a lifestyle for me. I include my empty closet and my “outside the closet” photos in full disclosure here. Brooke describes a year-long trip that she took with her family in which they sold everything they owned, except what would fit into a foot locker and what they could take in their van. “Excess stuff weighs us down and causes us to have to make too many decisions.” (summarized) I really identify with this, as I think unnecessary clutter creates distractions that make us feel more busy than we actually are. In losing ~16 pounds this past year, I feel that process required me to de-clutter some of the old ideas in my mind.

I spent a lot of time this Spring and Summer going through the initial stages of the KonMari method, primarily working on the clothing portion of that de-cluttering process. I did not follow her exact process but instead started by taking everything out of my closet on April 9th and only putting back what sparks joy. I still have much to do in order to make progress toward this goal. One thing that I noticed was that I suffered much less decision fatigue while trying to get dressed in the morning. Last year I spent time trying to upgrade my wardrobe because I wanted to dress for the “next level” in my corporate job, and I had a lot of presentations to give, so I wanted to look sharp. This year, I find that I am donating many items, because I realize certain items I acquired do not fit my true style or my personality.

Outside the closet.jpg

KonMari describes our need to hang onto things as arising from an attachment to the past or a fear of the future. Amen, sister. I hope to return to this down-sizing and de-cluttering of so many things I no longer need, and are in fact weighing me down in indecision. I live an abundant life and do not need to keep things that no longer serve me. By letting go of my past and realizing I have limited control over my future, I have experienced so much more freedom to live a good life. It is a process, but one that is worth pursuing. I will return to this process again now that the weather is getting brisk again and I am less tempted by the outdoors to neglect the inner spaces.

May you, my faithful reader, minimize what does not work in your life, so you have abundant space for what brings you joy.